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Salt Lake City Councilman Eric Jergensen, whose struggling business has spawned several embarrassing headlines in recent weeks about unpaid bills, announced Tuesday he will not seek a third term.
Jergensen, as recently as last week, had indicated he planned to run for re-election to represent District 3, which includes the Avenues and Capitol Hill, but said Tuesday he wants to spend more time with his growing family, including a newborn boy.
"We have received an outpouring of support and encouragement from so many neighbors and friends," Jergensen said in a statement. "That has been extremely gratifying. But my family must come first."
Jergensen also said he wants to focus on his business, Woods Cross-based Contour Composites, which has been working to pay off a number of debts in court.
"Second to my family, the employees of our company and their families are a critical part of my life," the councilman said. "We are successfully addressing past problems at our business one by one in a methodical manner."
Jergensen reported last month that he had cleared two bench warrants issued against him in 3rd District Court by paying a $16,607 debt levied against his business. He said he also had resolved a $98,000 debt his company owed to an Ogden businessman and is working to repay $120,000 his business borrowed from Jergensen's friend Kem Gardner, former president of The Boyer Co.
On Tuesday, Jergensen expressed support for Stan Penfold, who has filed to run for his council seat. Penfold is executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation.
"He is a man I highly respect as a community activist and leader," Jergensen said.
Lisa Allcott and Yossof Sharifi also are vying for the District 3 spot. The filing deadline for candidates is Wednesday.
"I have been privileged to work closely with my remarkable colleagues on the council," Jergensen said, "in keeping the unique character of our neighborhoods intact, to promote economic development -- especially local business -- in our city and to work hard in promoting neighborhood quality of life because, in the end, quality of life is what really matters to each one of us."
Jergensen's statement also included praise from Mayor Ralph Becker.
"Eric has been a man of unquestionable integrity and character on the council who could always be counted on for thoughtful, wise leadership," Becker said. "As a resident of District 3 myself, I will miss him as my council member. But I fully understand and support his decision."